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HERSHEY'S Rich Cocoa Fudge Recipe

HERSHEY'S Rich Cocoa Fudge

Skill Level: Expert

Recipe Rating


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa or HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1. Line 8-or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.
  • 2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)
  • 3. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss (about 7 minutes). Quickly spread in prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. About 64 pieces or 1-3/4 pounds.
  • NOTE: For best results, do not double this recipe. This is one of our most requested recipes, but also one of our most difficult. The directions must be followed exactly. Beat too little and the fudge is too soft. Beat too long and it becomes hard and sugary.
  • NUTTY RICH COCOA FUDGE: Beat cooked fudge as directed. Immediately stir in 1 cup chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts and spread quickly in prepared pan.
  • MARSHMALLOW-NUT COCOA FUDGE: Increase cocoa to 3/4 cup. Cook fudge as directed. Add 1 cup marshmallow creme with butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat 8 minutes; stir in
  • 1 cup chopped nuts. Pour into prepared pan. (Fudge does not set until poured into pan.)
  • -- Increase milk to 1-2/3 cups
  • -- Use soft ball cold water test for doneness OR Test and read thermometer in boiling water, subtract
  • difference from 212°F. Then subtract that number from 234°F. This is the soft ball temperature for
  • your altitude and thermometer.

Ratings & Reviews

    Love Love this recipe....
    I find this interesting. I have two labels from Hershey's Cocoa for this fudge. I had misplaced them and found myself here to get the recipe. I make this often,but I really like to make sure I have everything on hand. This is a great recipe. This is a variation of what I consider the original as I have an old cardboard label recipe that says to use 4 cups of sugar and only half a cup of cocoa, it also calls for evaporated milk. That recipe is from the late 50's/early sixties. It was in my mom's recipes. The second recipe I have still calls for evaporated milk and 4 cups of sugar, the rest of the recipe follows this one. That recipe is from the early to mid 70's. Now, if you'd like my personal touch here, I use 1/3 cup original cocoa and 1/3 cup special dark cocoa. I've tried this using all special dark and didn't really care for the results. The mixture of the two gives a good balance and creates a very dark and rich fudge. Give it a try sometime.
    This is THE recipe for chocolate fudge. I grew up on it
    I'm not sure what I did wrong - I could not bring the chocolate to boil to the 234 degrees, it started to overflow the 5 qt pan I was using. I went ahead and continued with the recipe, and I beat it with a wooden spoon and it never thickened. After reading some of the comments,8 decided,yo use the mixer and it thickened a little so I decided to pour it on the pan - don't think it's going to set... The chocolate tastes really good, and I would like to try again - Can someone give me some advice as to what I did wrong? Especially, why the chocolate did not reach the hard boil stage before overflowing?
    My mother tought me to make this. She told me her mother and grandmother use to make it every year. I love this recipe and i am now passing on to my kids. :)
    This is the....BEST ever fudge. Our entire family loves it
    Thank goodness I finally found the recipe.. been looking for awhile,,It makes the best fudge ever
    This recipe is not for the impatient, or the casual confectioner. It takes practice, and preparation. I use a bowl of water with 3-4 ice cubes in it to make SURE the water is very cold for the "soft ball" test. I also use less milk., actually I use half and half, but only 1 cup. It cuts down on the cooking time. I set my pot in a sink of cold water while I spoon or ladle it to the right consistency. I also have ice in the sink as well. I butter my pan liberally and do not use aluminum foil to line the pan. A well buttered pan makes removal of candy very easy. Thank you Hershey's, for having this website available!
    very good
    The absolute best!!!!! Please put the recipe back on the cocoa can. My sister and I use to make this when were were in our teens, that's been a few years.To make the best fudge you need the original recipe.
    Finally I found the recipe that I remember as a child. It is harder to make and takes time, but is worth it. Thanks Hersey for saving this recipe.
    I love it
    I remember this fudge from gradeschool bake sales. This is the real McCoy! I've tried this recipe many times over 50 years and finally got it right. The key for me was the stirring after cooling. I felt like my wrist was going to fall off. Even after my wife stirred for a bit it did not lose it's gloss. Remedy-hook up the wooden spoon to a cordless drill. Industrial fudge you might say. But hey-it works!
    Our favorite fudge recipe.No other comes close..It is written down in my old recipe book so I will never loose it.
    My daughter and I made this and it didn't turn out at all....we followed the directions carefully, but it never hardened! Such a bummer! Instead of throwing it out, we put it in a jar and are going to buy some ice cream to pour it over.
    When my mother was a very little girl, she learned this recipe with her grandmother, and then she frequently made it for our family. She used a large frying pan! I have great memories of her teaching my sister and me about the 'soft ball stage,' and, to this day, I prefer using the cup of cold water method to test my candy. I agree- this is THE REAL chocolate fudge recipe. It 'ruined' me for the easier chocolate chip and marshmallow recipes used most of the time today.
    When I was growing up my mom would make this fudge every Christmas for our relatives. We were poor and so my mom would save all of the coffee cans throughout the year and then line the cans with foil and put the Hershey's fudge in them and give as gifts. So every year that is what they wanted Mama Audrey's fudge. I remember the taste being gritty and that is how she made it. We all just loved it. My mother passed years ago and I did not realize that the recipe was on the can, however it is not. My sister made it for me a few years ago and made me cry because she got it right. I have found it on this site and am going to try to make it myself. Little Audrey
    This is fudge. There is nothing else like it. No quick, marshmallow, microwaved anything compares to this recipe. I make it every year at Christmas, like my mother did. Simple to make? No. Worth the effort? You bet and believe me, the difference is obvious. I will say that I HAVE used my hand mixer to beat this fudge, although advised not to, because I am simply not up to the constant and lengthy beating, but I am very careful with the mixer and actually lift it out of the fudge regularly, as one would a spoon. Just have to be very focused so you don't overbeat. Try it! It is Heavenly.
    Greatest fudge ever.... Great memories of my Dad, he was the best Hershey's cocoa fudge maker I know! My problem is..... NO CANDY THERMOMETER! Santa, all I want for Christmas is a candy thermometer...
    This recipe used to be on the can of cocoa. I am sure that it used to be called "Old Fashion Fudge." I had to call Hershey to get the recipe. I could recall every ingredient. I make this fudge for special occasions for my wife. I used to help my Mother make it when I was just a young boy. You need to follow the recipe to the letter. I have messed up a batch or two in the past by doubling the recipe. It is temping to stir the butter in before it cools; don't. I do not know why the "wooden spoon," but that is what I use. I pour my fudge onto buttered plates(2) just like my Mother did.
    I have been using this recipe for almost 70 years. When made properly, nothing can top it. It makes absolutely perfect fudge.
    This is the best recipe ever
    This took me several tries to get right but then, I nailed it. I could barely boil water I was so young and new to being a wife. I wanted to impress. 2 days and several cups of sugar and chocolate later, I impressed him well enough to where he bragged to his mother. She could never match my achievement. That was 40 years ago. It still kind of makes me proud to remember this. Ladies, if you ever make one thing your friends can't make well, its this fudge recipe! Keep at it! It is SO worth it!
    It is so Good!
    Best fudge anywhere! My mom has made this all of my life. I recently made some and mailed it to my son.
    This is the original hershey's recipe that I grew up with. 65 years ago and was and still is the only real fudge recipe.
    I use evaporated milk for a more distinctive southern taste. Everyone loves it. Reminds my of my Grandmother. We used to try to sneak off with the whole plate.
    The best ever.
    My dad used this recipy, it used to be printed on the can of hersys powder. It was great !!! Now I am making it too!!!
    I made this recipe for Christmas for my family, and have made it five times more at my family's request! This is the best fudge ever!
    I love this fudge, easiest, and well worth the 55 min to 60 minutes worth of prep time,
    This is the BEST fudge ever. Imagine my surprise that this recipe is rated as for an advanced cook....I started making it when I was 15. That was in the 60s, and although I have eaten the marshmallow creme variety, this is still superior. My mom even made a version of this and used it as a frosting for my birthday cake!!
    My mother gave this recipe to me when I first got married. I've been making it for my wife for Chirstmas for the last 40 years. She says if I don't make the fudge Santa won't come.
    This is the fudge I grew up eating as a child. You can dress it up or down if you want to, but just the simple recipe my grandmother made, is good enough to bring back the aroma of her kitchen and the simple pleasures of childhood.
    Makes the best fudge ever! I have been making this fudge for many years as my mother did, and there is no other that tastes even close. It is a wonderful recipes that brings back many fond memories. Make sure you don't try to make it when its rainy, it won't turn out! The cooling time can be cut back a lot by setting the pan in 2 or 3 inches of water to cool, don't stir until it has cooled down enough. If it turns sugary, you can add a few tablespoons of butter and recook it. I have with great success. Best recipe ever, thank-you Hershey!
    My mom made this every Christmas. She would add 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
    The best fudge ever! Well worth the effort. My family has been making this at Christmas as long as I can remember, and I've continued the tradition on to my own family. I've found that if I use a digital thermometer and cook until it's exactly 234 degrees, I have the best results. Also, don't disturb the candy while cooling, or it can turn grainy
    The Best Ever fudge recipe. Melts in your mouth.
    Can't beat this...the only way my family will eat fudge.A must for all holidays for over 40 years.
    This is the best fudge in the entire universe! My mom used to make this fudge recipe and use it as cake frosting! My siblings and I (ok, mostly me) would chip off chunks until no "frosting" remained.
    My Aunt Mae is famous for this fudge .. it takes patience and a good eye for when the color has changed right after the perfect temperature is reached. She made it everytime The Wizard of Oz was on TV ... we convinced her it was the only thing that would keep us from being afraid of the flying monkeys. :-)
    This fudge is the best!!! You must be very patient and have no, I mean zero distractions while making this fudge. I have made it many times and when I give it my undivided attention it is perfect! My brother asks for this all the time for Christmas...people love it and cannot believe the is nothing like you have ever tasted...Mackinac Island has nothing on this recipe :-)
    Hands down the best fudge ever, especially with walnuts.
    I added 1 Cup of peanut butter to the recipe and it was really good!
    this is the worst fudge recipe i've ever made, never turns out!
    I made this many times when first married a little over 40 years ago. Then, for some reason, I switched to the recipe that uses chocolate chips, evaporated milk, and marshmallow cream, which is far more expensive to make than this fudge. The two compete well in taste and appearance but this one brings back the fondest memories...maybe that's why I love it so!
    Have been enjoying this since my Mother and Grandmother made it when I was a little girl and now I'm 60 years young. My family likes it just as good. It's the best.
    This is my favorite thing to make by far. The best tasting fudge you will ever have!!!!
    I LOVE this fudge!!! My mom has been making this fudge my entire life, 44 years!!! I grew up eating it. Now it's my turn for my children. :)
    I started making this recipe when I was a teen. I found it on the side of the cocoa box, and thought I would like to make it. Got it right the first time. My brother loves getting this fudge for his birthday.
    Also my mother used to make this fudge from the Cocoa Can. Hers was always sugary and crystally and I grew to love that quality. I really do not like or eat the creamy fudge. I stirred long so it would be grainy and it is just the way I remember and enjoy it so much! Thanks Hershey!
    this is the best fudge recipe there is!
    I haven't made it yet
    the best fudge ever, this is what my children want for Christmas.
    My granny used to make this for us every Saturday night to eat as we watched Larence Welk. She always added peanut butter. I have tweeked it a bit through the years. I use double the vanilla and 1 cup of creamy peanut butter. I do double the recipe(not suggested for newbeeies). I use a stock pot so it won't boil over. Pour it in a foil lined sprayed with pam 13x9 pan. People that I give it to that have never had it are blown away.
    My Mom has been making this fudge for as long as I can remember and I'm 56 yrs old. She is having an Easter egg coloring party and was going to make this fudge for us while we all colored eggs, but the recipe is no longer on the box. She said never wrote it down because it was always there on the box for her. I was crushed and then found it here. Yahoo! This is the BEST recipe ever and conjures up all good and happy childhood memories for me. :)
    Like many others, I grew up with my mom making this fudge, and it's the only kind I like. I've been making it myself for 20+ years now. A little tip that might help others -- when I developed problems with my hands that make it very difficult to stir, I couldn't get the butter stirred in before the fudge would begin to set and it would be too set by the time I got it out of the pot. So I tried adding the butter and vanilla right along with the other ingredients. It works just difference at all! Another tip -- rather than stirring constantly before you pour it up, try stirring a little, letting it sit a couple mins, then stirring again. If you give it just a little rest it thickens a little during the rest so that you don't end up having to stir quite so much before pouring up. Just be sure not to let it rest once it begins to lose the gloss. At that point, you have to work very quickly! Thank you Hershey for giving my mom this recipe all those years ago -- it's the best fudge in the world!
    Great recipe
    My aunt made this when I was growing up and no other fudge even came close to this recipe! Once you've had it no other fudge will do! My aunt taught me to never attempt this recipe on a rainy day because it would not set! I would beg and beg til she gave in and she was always right - it didn't set! We still had fun eating it with a spoon because it was more like thick syrup. I make this for my family and they love it! Thanks Hersheys!
    My mother was making this fudge way before I was born. She taught me and I helped her as a child. I'm still making it and I am 63 years old. GREAT RECIPE. Brings back many memories.
    My favorite fudge recipe of all time. I almost have it memorized by heart. When I see it I know it is it. It used to be on the Cocoa box.
    This is my Grandma Smith's recipe. She did not use standard measuring cups-she was a TRUE expert! This is THE BEST homemade fudge EVER! Dad used to go to Topeka and park cars in her yard during the State Fair and she would send fudge home to Saint Louis for us grandkids. To die for!! =)
    My grandmother and my mother used to make this. Recently I found out my mother-in-law made it also. Now I make it for my family and father-in-law. Love it. Teff
    nummy, my grand critters really love it!!
    I have been making this fudge since I was 7 years old. The best part of making this when you are a kid is testing it in cold water because you get to eat the first few tries. There is a cookie recipe we used to make with oatmeal and this was the base of it. It is a no bake drop cookie and was wonderful.
    My mother made this all the time when I was growing up and now, no other fudge tastes right! I hate those kinds with evaporated milk or marshmallow creme. This is the perfect fudge! And now I make it for my own family. They love it too.
    I love this kind of fudge, but it is hard to get the texture just right. However, when it turns out right, it is wonderful.
    Have made this recipe for years! Learned how to make it with my Grandmother and am now 60 later teaching MY Granddaughter how to make it......this is what the kids and grandkids all want at Christmas time.
    Been using this recipe over 60 years. At one time, this was the only recipe on the Hershey Cocoa Box. This has been, is and will always be the best Fudge. Only use "Real" ingredients...only whole milk and real butter.
    the ONLY recipe for real fudge! to die for!
    This is the BEST fudge recipe. Everbody loves it. You need to use at least whole milk. I use half and half. It takes practice. Usually the first batch of the season isn't the best. It is so worth it though. Terrific.
    My mother made this fudge for years when I was growing up. It was always a family favorite. I just found the recipe on your website and I am so excited to be able to make it again. I love it with pecans. Much better than the marshmallow creme type.
    My mother, grandmother, great grandmother all made this fudge. No pans used...pour out the fudge onto wax paper. It rolls out exactly the right distance and stops if you have made it correctly. (not a good idea for a beginner, though!)
    My grandmother and mother made this when I was growing up.It's an old family favorite :-) I made it for my kids and grandkids. Love it, the best fudge recipe ever thought of.
    love it
    My mom made this when I was a kid, and this is the only fudge I like. It is creamy when done correctly, and no other fudge tingles your taste buds like this one does!
    My mother always made this fudge and it has always been my favorite. I watched her make it for years but I'm still working on mine to turn out as perfect as hers did. Love it Love it Love it. She also had a similar frosting recipe that was to die for on chocolate cake.
    Another way to cool the fudge mixture faster is to put the pot in about 2 to 3 inches of cold water while allowing the butter and vanilla to sit. When the fudge mixture is lukewarm, begin beating with a wooden spoon until the gloss starts to dull. Quickly add the chopped nuts and spread the mixture into the lightly buttered pan. Our family has made this recipe with slightly different variations for at least 45 years. This receipe and a coffee cake receipe were the first we were allowed to cook on our own as children. Delicious!
    Just for a note: For those without a candy thermometer, the cooling stage takes about 50-60 minutes once you've removed it from the heat. Wonderful recipe! I learned how to cook on this one, believe it or not, from my beloved mentor. <3
    I have been using this recipe for 30 years, starting as a child. The trick is to go by the recipe exactly. I love it with pecans.
    Especially good when a heaping tablespoon of smooth peanut butter is added with the butter and vanilla.
    I also add peanut butter This is the best fudge ever
    my family has been making this "back of the box" recipe for over 40 years, it is fantastic.
    My mom has made this for the last 40years..i have started making it my self....when the directions say follow exactly do so...if you do you have the best tasting real fudge in the world.
    My mom and aunt have been making this for 50 years. Its great, especially with black walnuts. I don't use as much cocoa and it is just as good!!
    Recipe was not difficult to follow. I added walnuts and it turned out very nicely. Was a little time consuming so definately not for the rush rush rush person. but good recipe.
    Great recipe I have used for over 30 years try adding pecans it is absolutely wonderful.
    My mother made this fudge when I was growing up. I made it for my children and now my grandchildren. Sometimes I also add 1 cup of cruncy peanut butter as soon as it's done cooking. Cocunut is another ingredient I have add.
    My mom has been making this fudge as long as I can remember! It's not so overly sweet like that evaporated milk fudge. It has a dryer texture.